Coastal Habitats & Species—Ocean Animal Adaptations

Summary: This topic guide focuses on classroom and field trip activities that show students that the ocean is home to a variety of animal species, and each has structural and behavioral adaptations that help it survive in marine ecosystems.

Concepts to teach: Adaptation, marine ecosystems, evolution

Goals: The ocean supports a great diversity of life.
Animal species are adapted to environments.

3.3S.2, 4.2L.1, 43S.2, 4.2L.1, 5.2L.1

Specific Objectives:

  1. Students identify the major natural history characteristics of a marine animal.
  2. Students describe four body structures and two behavioral characteristics of an organism that help it survive in a marine habitat.
  3. Students share their finding with others through an oral or written presentation.

Activity Links and Resources:


  • Students prepare a report on their findings of a particular marine animal, in which basic natural history characteristics are described and structural and behavioral adaptations identified.
  • Compare and contrast a marine organism with a terrestrial organism using a Venn diagram.